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Fwd: Re: [glosalist] Re: Too much plainness -Tail End

Robin Gaskell (Robin Gaskell <drought-breaker@...>) on February 24, 2004

Saluta, Continuing the comments on Laslo’s “excessive plain-ness” reply.

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 18:24:53 +1100 To: From: Robin Gaskell <drought-breaker@…> Subject: Re: [glosalist] Re: Too much plainness

Saluta Mi Plu Amika,

At 07:13 PM 2/22/04 +0100, Laslo grafo:

Saluta Robin,

 I don't know how the ancient Greeks or Romans denoted the  possessive, but that could be a fruitful line of enquiry.

## Ron was a bit ahead of his time, because he thought that human culture had arrived at the stage where conceptual thinking was general amongst forward-thinking people. He really thought the world was ready for Glosa. My understanding, after having pondered it for a long time, is that for Glosa to be spoken well and written well calls upon the intuitive language ability of the person speaking or writing. If the language is written/spoken well, then the reader/listener will have no problem in understanding the communication, and should not feel there is any ambiguity. However, Glosa appears not to be easy to speak/write well, because only some of the members of this Mailing List feel comfortable with using it as a “Syntax-based Non-inflecting” language. && Teaching people to READ Glosa would not appear to be the problem, even though many will learn to write it well, by osmosis, as a result of reading well-written Glosa. The major problem that has emerged is in understanding the essence of the language, and in using this knowledge to WRITE it syntactically correctly, and unambiguously. I believe both are possible … but it may take some deeper scholarship in syntax than that provided by a school education … and worse, it might require a reasonable insight into the functioning of language - in our own brains, not in the text books. $$ This, though I am possibly being unkind, might explain the seeking, by some people, for a regularised communication medium where everything is on paper and none of the essentials of communication are required from the mind of the reader: a perfectly machine-handleable language. The very fact that this hypothesis was tried in 1972 with the DLT (Distributed Language Translation) project using Esperanto as the basis of its pivot language, and didn’t quite get completed, allows me to question basing a pivot/bridge language project on a highly inflected, designed language. Ron Clark used to say that people forgot that the listener makes up half of the communication process, and comes half-way towards the speaker during a verbal exchange. Thus the speaker doesn’t have to say everything in complete detail - nor can he - and, also, he assumes much knowledge to be already in the mind of the listener. If syntactic structures, vocabulary and context are not in the mind of the listener, then it matters not if the speaker uses perfect diction.

(Laslo) This feature (terminal vowels donoting Part-of-Speech) would improve in an extraordinary manner the easilly intelligible of the texts and would make unnecessary the use of special expressions. As me this changing is worth to be made. This would be the only one use of endings in the Glosa. *** As already argued, this would produce a ‘bastard’ language - a syntax-based language with terminal, P-o-S marker vowels. This would defeat the advantage of having unchanging spelling, and would cause the reader and writer to concentrate on the mechanics of Parts of Speech, than on the Flow of Language, which is syntax-oriented.

  On the question of 'what P-o-S is that?' I suggest that everyone does  a newspaper reading analysis.  While in England, and doing some coaching in  English usage with schoolchildren, I developed the 'underline the verb'  exercise. Say, in a short newspaper article, you underline each actual verb in red,  then each noun in green.  After thinking you've got that right, then you  move on the adjectives in blue and adverbs in mauve.
  Decisions, decisions!  The reporters, in their economy with words,  and their heavy use of elision and compounding, do not make it an easy  exercise: they do NOT write well-turned sentences.  There are many words  that just cannot be pinned down to one simple Part-of-Speech, colour, or  "terminal vowel."  And people pay to be able to read such printed language??
  I am old enough to have done Parsing and Analysis in primary school  in backward Queensland.  That was where I learnt my syntax.  Nowadays,  grammar and syntax are hardly mentioned in English-speaking schools, and I  suspect that the situation is also just as bad in most other cultures.

  However, in Glosa, after we get over the humps of formal grammar,  vocabulary, syntax and semantics, then we are free to romp off into the  green fields of 'flow', rhythm and 'feel.'  While I am still more at home  with English than with Glosa, I believe that, in Glosa, with its low  loading of items at the basic end of this "language skill continuum", one  is able to progress more quickly into concentrating on the more enjoyable,  more creative elements at the spectrum's upper end.
  Although the two sentences above will make no sense to the  uncreative, and will NOT be supported in any Linguist's book, it is still a  statement of the joy that can be gained through producing effective  communication.

  If, in the past, you have been seeking the key to writing Glosa, and  have not found it, perhaps you have been looking in the wrong place.  Aim  to 'think in Glosa.'  ^Go with the flow^ of language, and discover, that in  Glosa, this is in the syntax.

 Ron said there was one grammagical rule in Glosa: "a word is modified  by its antecedent.  This gives rise to Head Final phrase structure, in  which the words build up in importance starting with basically unimportant  words on the left, and words of increasing significance in the middle,  ending in the main substantive word in the phrase - whether it is  functioning as a VERB [in a Verb phrase] or a NOUN [in a noun phrase].
Simple Subject-Verb-Object sentences also follow this rule because each  word is modified by the preceding word.

He   --->   hit    --->    him.

We start with ‘he.’ It is the ‘he’ who modifies , or gives, the ‘hit.’

 Who, or what, does the 'hit' modify?  My guess is that the 'hit'  modifies the 'him.'

  So, in very rough, but reasonably understandable linguistics, Ron  Clark's ONLY grammatical rule of Glosa gives rise to the rest of the  language's rule-of-thumb, flying-by-the-seat-of -the-pants style of grammar.

  Because Glosa is morphological_grammar_neutral, I believe that it has  a very good chance of functioning as a very suitable bridge  language.  However, some languages do say things that Glosa is not yet  geared up to do, so, either Glosa would need to be added to, to allow some  of these meanings, or small markings could be used by the human translator,  or mechanically added by the computer doing the translation to transfer  such meanings from the source language to the target language - if this has  the capacity to express the subtlety.



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Fwd: Re: [glosalist] Re: Too much plainness -Tail End - Committee on language planning, FIAS. Coordination: Vergara & Hardy, PhDs.